What is a prized possession you can never get back once you lose it?
The answer is your reputation.
At some point in your life, your values will be challenged and possibly even ridiculed by others. It’s especially common in the years after high school when you’re facing all that newfound independence. You also may face situations in your career where shortcuts are tempting and ethical situations are gray.
Will you have the moral courage to withstand the pressure and take the high ground, even if it means you may lose an opportunity or a friendship in the process?
I was fortunate to have worked with George Russell, the Chairman Emeritus of Russell Investments. He always took pride in saying, “Our company operates with non-negotiable integrity.” He meant it. George always said, “If you’re wondering whether or not to do something, ask how you would feel if it became tomorrow’s headline in the New York Times.” Enough said.
Sadly, you can see how poor choices have destroyed the reputations and lives of countless people in the sports, entertainment, political, and business world. Since many of them were heroes to impressionable kids, their missteps have even greater consequence. Unfortunately, we’ve all seen how the loss of trust and respect can ruin lives and relationships.
No matter what you do, preserve your integrity, values, and reputation with every ounce of strength you can muster. You will absolutely, positively, and totally regret it if you don’t!
How have you handled situations where you were asked or tempted to compromise your integrity? Have you shared the story with the young people in your life? Your positive example will encourage them in their own struggles to preserve their reputation and integrity in an easy-to-compromise world.